Saturday, May 26, 2007

Missing in Action

A recent visit to Chicago with three others from Waco reminded me of just how little real Italian food we have here. The first night at one of Chicago's best steak places, two of my associates opted for pasta dishes instead of dry-aged beef. Following a night of deep-dish pizza, on night three we again ate Italian at La Scarola. Pasta Sinatra was a feast of wonderful seafood, spicy arrabiata sauce, and delicious veal were both excellent. Only a visit to Chinatown and Frontera Grill got us off the Italian gravy train.

I guess I should not have been surprised that we all over indulged in Italian while in Chicago. There just isn't much here in Waco that satisfies my hunger for first rate pasta. I wish it weren't so. Can we not find a little family place that delivers creative Italian fare? Can't somebody deliver Italian the way Yanni's deliver Greek?


I'm not a fast food fan but when it comes to fast food commercials I will watch every
Jack in the Box ad that comes on the tube. I don't know who creates those ads but they keep me entertained. The latest ad touts Jack's sirloin burger as superior to the Angus burgers served by competitors. The advertisement is a bit vulgar but certainly funny. Funnier still is the response from Carl's Jr. that the ads are misleading.

Jack in the Box Ads Called Misleading
AP Business Writer

The parent company of the Carl's Jr. and Hardee's fast food chains sued rival Jack In The Box Inc. on Friday to stop TV ads that it says suggest Carl's Jr. and Hardee's use cow anus to make Angus beef hamburgers.

CKE Restaurants Inc. sued Jack In The Box in U.S. District Court on Friday over an ad in which executives laugh hysterically at the word "Angus" and another where the chain's ping-pong ball-headed mascot, Jack, is asked to point to a diagram of a cow and show where Angus meat comes from.

"I'd rather not," the pointy-nosed Jack replies.

The employee asking the question traces a circle in the air with his pen while pronouncing the word Angus.

CKE claims the ads create the misleading impression that Jack In The Box's new 100 percent sirloin burgers use a better quality of meat than the Angus beef used by Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. CKE claims the spots confuse consumers by comparing sirloin, a cut of meat found on all cattle, with Angus, which is a breed of cattle.

Executives at San Diego-based Jack In The Box had not seen the lawsuit and could not respond, company spokeswoman Kathleen Anthony said.

Funny stuff. Don't be confused!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hot Chow

Today’s rumor is that a large building housing one of Waco’s long-time popular restaurants has been sold. The result is that the restaurant will close in its current location. Will it reopen? Maybe it will but no confirmation of that at this time. More to come.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

From Smoky to Ashes - The Fire Is Out

It certainly took longer than I imagined and it was definitely bigger than I thought. Darden Restaurants Incorporated announced that it has closed its Smoky Bones Barbecue and Grill in Waco. That was long overdue. In addition, Darden says it is closing 56 of its Smokey Bones Barbeque and Grill locations and will offer the remaining 73 for sale. I guess that people in other states loved their barbecue about as much as I did.

I predicted several posts back that Smoky Bones wouldn't last. We have too much better Q in Waco. All of the Smoky Bones west of the Mississippi will be closed along with some in Indiana and Florida. Darden operates about 1,400 Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Bahama Breeze, Smokey Bones and Seasons 52 restaurants across the United States. Could we get a different Darden franchise in the same location? None of Darden's other franchises will make an impact here.

What are the top choices to appear in this market?

Any Pappas Restaurant
Cheesecake Factory
Saltgrass Steakhouse
Texas Land and Cattle Company
Macaroni Grill
Baker Brothers American Deli

Do you have other favorites that could take over this spot in Texas Central Marketplace?